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Tuesday, November 14, 20061163536500

5GW and the British Army Rumor Service

The ARmy Rumour SErvice apparently is a British outfit dedicated the fighting men of the current incarnation of the Hanover Imperium. They host information posts about organizations like the National Malayia and Borneo Veterans Association and their wiki has editorialized information about the Eurofighter Typhoon and other boondoggles.

Like Tom Barnett, they responded to tdaxp philosophizing with the need for a stiff drink

[5GW] is a developing theory, seems to shift like the sands and dances off into dreamland at times. All the same, some hold it to be the key to resolving all future conflicts. Others hold it to be complete BS doomed to failure being a highly developed form of putting toxins in Castro's boot polish to make his trademark beard fall out

have a punt through this, then a few stiff drinks:

Dreaming with Generation War

"If traditional war centered on an enemy's physical strength, and 4GW on his moral strength, the 5th Generation of War would focus on his intellectual strength. A 5th Generation War might be fought with one side not knowing who it is fighting. Or even, a brilliantly executed 5GW might involve one side being completely ignorant that there ever was a war. It's like the old question of what was the perfect robbery: we will never know, because in a perfect robbery the bank would not know that it was robbed."

In limited 5GWs, removing the enemy's "capacity for independent action" is the goal. Specifically, the fighter tries to entangle the enemy into a web of obligations that effectively reharmonize the enemy, without the enemy knowing that he has "conditionally surrendered

Another post on the thread reminded me of the continuum of the generations of war:

Maybe 5GW is a way of vocalizing our realization that we can't win 4GW because we haven't learned how to alter societies' opinions? How could we win in Iraq? Well, if we could make the Iraqis believe that a secular democracy is the most important thing in their lives and something worth dying for, that would do the trick. How can we achieve that? Well, friggin' telepathy or microwaves into the brains, or some other fancy futuristic warfare mumbo jumbo might do it - although allocating aid money correctly, not torturing prisoners and stamping out corruption would be a start...

What say you, Curtis? Younghusband? Purpleslog?

14:35 Posted in Doctrine | Permalink | Comments (6)


Well, part of the forces driving a new generation is to overcome the power/success of the prior generations strengths.

Since Full Spectrum 4GW (I am going with this name for now) is proving to be successful, folks will look to ways (5GW) to combat it.

Some of the ideas might seem nutty at first, but there is an army of super empowered thinkers and bloggers tossing out and evolving ideas. Something will grow.

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Maybe 5GW is a way of vocalizing our realization that we can't win 4GW because we haven't learned how to alter societies' opinions? "

Fouro is fond of saying that there are only two things that bring about radical changes in mindsets and actions: Moonshots and Tsunamis. The real challenge is changing societies' opinions is that you can't change a society's opinion. You can't even change one person's opinion besides your own. What we CAN do is influence people in ways that help them change their mind. Boyd pointed the way with PISSR, but it still comes down to individuals influencing other individuals on a massive scale. You can't treat members of a society as fungible units; each has his or her own Lattice of Orientation Models and each of these lattices responds uniquely to stimuli/observations. Oh, and we can't core dump them to help others help us to change those lattices. Changing a society's collective opinion is doable, but not nearly as straightforward as most leaders would like to believe.

Posted by: Mike | Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Oops. The real challenge IN changing societies' opinions...

Posted by: Mike | Wednesday, November 15, 2006


How is Full Spectrum 4GW different from 4GW?


Fouro sounds right, and I think this ties into a materialist approach similar to Barnett's. Intellectual conversion is exceedingly difficult. Getting people to do what you want them to do while minimizing your role seems like a better approach...

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, November 18, 2006


I am using "Full Spectrum Warfare or Conflict" as description of 4GW as opposed to a more narrow description of just "advanced/evolved guerilla warfare".

I have been meaning to write a post for some time, but I am a bit sidetracked at the moment.


Posted by: PurpleSlog | Saturday, November 18, 2006


Gotcha, but I would be careful of terminololgical inflation. 4GW is a neat concept, as outlined by Lind and Hammes. Both separate it from just well-performed guerrilla warfare. So I don't think "Full Spectrum 4GW" is a needed term, unless you are seperating it from a limited spectrum 4GW.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, November 18, 2006